Police investigate suspicious fire at Lenaghan House, near Minmi

Police are investigating the cause of a fire at a well-known property near Minmi.

About 8.45am on Sunday emergency services were called to Lenaghans Drive, and found the building well alight.

The blaze was extinguished; however, the building sustained significant damage.

The Hunter Region's bush orator, Bob Skelton, aka the 'Minmi Magster' said the destruction of the “landmark building” was a real loss for the region.

“The house is dear to my heart,” he said.

“My old dad used to take us out there in the 50s and we would take canoes out in the swamp, and paddle around. 

“Everyone from the Minmi area went past this building and knew it. It will hold memories for most locals.”

According to his research the property was built in 1888 and opened as The Old Lenaghan Hotel. It was run by the Lenaghan family and would remain in their possession for several years to come.

Despite only finding records of a 12-month liquor license, Mr Skelton has come across many an old miner who tell tales of frequenting the hotel for a few cold brews right up until the 1950s.

“I remember being there as a lad and seeing the taps at the bar,” he said.

“But most of the history and records have been lost, so it is difficult to know dates.”

The Hardes were the next family to take over the property and renamed it Winston Court.

Here they bred and trained horses for several years.

AFTER: Lenaghan House at Lenaghan near Minmi. Police are investigating the cause of a fire at the property over the weekend. 14th May 2018. Picture by Simone De Peak

AFTER: Lenaghan House at Lenaghan near Minmi. Police are investigating the cause of a fire at the property over the weekend. 14th May 2018. Picture by Simone De Peak

“It was passed around a few people after that and eventually fell into wreck and ruin,” he said.

“Sad to see it go up in flames.”

Officers from Newcastle City Police District attended the fire and are investigating the blaze. There were no reports of injuries from the scene. Once deemed safe the property will be forensically examined.

The cause of the fire is unknown and the property was vacant at the time. 

The property was recently listed for sale as the rebranded ‘Lenaghan House’ through Castle Property. According to the listing the home sits on 27.543 hectares and is zoned ‘Environmental Conservation’.

Police are appealing for witnesses of the fire to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

Do you know more about the history of this site? Email jessica.brown@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Comments